Amendments to Practice Direction 51D to take effect 1st October 2011; scheme extended to 30th September 2012
A number of amendments to Practice Direction 51D, the Defamation Proceedings Costs Management Scheme, will take effect on 1st October 2011.
The changes of note to practitioners are:
- Paragraph 1.1(1) – extension of the pilot scheme for a further year until 30 September 2012;
- Paragraph 2(3) – parties’ budgets now need only be submitted in a form that “substantially follows” Precedent HA (which is to be amended)
- Paragraph 5.1 – the court will now be required to manage the costs of the litigation and the case itself in a manner which is proportionate to the public interest issues at stake, as well as the value of the claim and the reputational issues at stake;
- Paragraph 5.3 – The court is only to record its approval or disapproval of budgets “to the extent the budgets are not agreed between the parties,”
- Paragraph 5.3A – clarification that only future costs are to be approved, although the court may record its comments on costs already incurred, and is invited to take those costs into account when considering the reasonableness and proportionality of all subsequent costs;
- Paragraph 5.3B – clarification that the approved budget is not a detailed assessment made in advance, and that the court is only to consider whether the budgeted totals for each stage are within “the broad range of reasonable and proportionate costs”;
- Paragraph 5.5 – solicitors monthly liaisons must now consider whether budgets are likely to be exceeded, as well as whether they are being exceeded; and
- Paragraph 5.6 – an approved budget only impacts upon assessment on the standard basis, and a court may depart from such a budget where satisfied that there is good reason to do so (previously departures required “exceptional circumstances”).